I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
I was listening to Dr. Demartini’s list of 15 unrealistic expectations the other day and I thought it would be useful to share what I believe to be the three major unrealistic expectations that tend to prevent us from being happy and growing into a fully intentional and purposeful life. First, it might be useful to define what unrealistic expectations are. We may say they are beliefs or thoughts we carry and hold about what and how life should unfold. Second, we need to see unrealistic expectations as primarily linked to our hopes and ideals. These can either run consciously or unconsciously in our minds, but we desire they could be manifested.
We can have unrealistic expectations about different aspects of ourselves and others. Ultimately, all unrealistic expectations lead to negative emotions (e.g anger, sadness) and frustrating experiences (e.g. conflicts at work and at home), because they are distortions of reality and of the fabric of human existence. As such, they can have a negative impact on our health and well-being. Although we can’t do anything about other people’s unrealistic expectations, we can grow aware of ours and do our best to mitigate them. Here are three unrealistic expectations that often work against us:
You Expect Only One Side of Nature
I think this particular expectation is linked to our complex relationship with change. We like to have some predictability in the way reality presents itself to us and thus it is more comfortable to hold on tight to the expectation that people or situations have only one side. If someone is nice and kind to us repeatedly, we easily develop the expectation that that person will always be that way. If someone is generally grumpy or unpolite, we form the expectation that that person will always be that way. We tend to create expectations that favor only one side of nature, categorizing people and situations as either good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. Duality is, nonetheless, the nature of our human reality, and no person or situation is either 100% bad or good.
You Expect Others to Live in Your Values
Each one of us has a set of values. No two people are likely to have a list of values that match perfectly. We are complex beings, displaying unique talents and interests, so our values are also a reflection of that complexity. What we hold dear to our hearts may not resonate with what another person believes or feels to be important. Expecting that others will believe and give equal importance to what we value the most is setting ourselves for failure and heartache. It is not our place to tell someone else what is or isn’t important in their life. We can make educated suggestions but never expect that others will comply or incorporate what we envision to be important or a priority.
You Expect To Live Outside Your Values
When you put your values on hold to live another person’s values, you are setting yourself not only for failure but for mental, emotional, and spiritual breakdown. Living according to a set of guiding principles that are not your own or which you don’t resonate with makes you grow distant from your core and lose touch with who you are. There is a reason you are breathing as a unique being and that’s to be you. Everyone else is taken, and no matter how much you try to live somebody else’s life, you won’t make out of it sane or whole. The more you try to live outside your values, the more you will feel disconnected and miserable about yourself and life in general.
Do you want to learn even more?
Here are some books by Dr. Demartini
Although it’s not easy to grow awareness of and dismantle our unrealistic expectations, it is something we need to focus on and work on, if we want to lead a happier and healthier life. Everyone has expectations. It is unrealistic to want to get completely rid of them. However, unrealistic expectations can seriously negatively impact our well-being and mental health. I hope these three examples of unrealistic expectations will help you reflect on where you may need to do some changes and empower yourself to live a life more based on freedom and respect for everyone’s differences.
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